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$150 Over-Charge for Driver’s Education

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

$150 Over-Charge for Driver’s Education

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
April 28, 2007

On April 28, 2007 the Northwest Herald carries an article on Page 6B about McHenry High Schools' Driver’s Education fees. If you had, have or will have a student in any driver’s education, be sure to read it. Go to http://www.nwherald.com/ and search for keyword “Vanover”.

Two years ago I raised this exact issue with Woodstock District 200 and asked them to explain and justify why a student was charged more than the $50 State-mandated maximum fee for driver’s education. Students were assessed $150 for the Between-the-Wheel driver training program. As I dug into the issue and learned about a Waiver that the Illinois State Board of Education would grant, I found that, yes, it was improper to include teacher salaries in the expenses of operating the driver’s education program. Salaries were to be covered as an expense of the high school and school district. HOWEVER, if the District filed an application for Waiver with ISBE for higher expenses and went ahead and listed salaries and IF ISBE approved the Waiver, then the high school could charge more than the $50 State maximum fee, even though an improper (illegal) expense (salaries) was included in their calculations.

And so a number of “creative” school districts did just that, including Woodstock D200. What I was unable to figure out was why and how ISBE could approve a violation of State law and why D200 would ask ISBE to approve a violation of the law. But it did, and they did. The result is that hundreds of students have paid an extra $150 to take driver’s education – a course required for graduation.

What should students and their parents do now? File complaints with District 200 and demand a refund of the $150 that they were over-charged.

Better yet, D200 should do the “right” thing and, before students and parents can begin to file complaints, D200 should be pro-active and inform parents that the excess fees will be returned promptly and start issuing checks!

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